Today’s Latest News Transcript at 8:30 PM on 21 July 2023
The top news today comes from the North-Eastern state of Manipur, where Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that he does not want to go into the issue of his resignation, which is being sought by the Opposition, after a video showing two women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted by a mob of me surfaced, sparking nationwide outrage, two days ago. Four people — including the prime accused in the case, Huirem Herodas Meitei — have been arrested in the case. Herodas’s house was, moreover, set on fire yesterday by the women folk of Petchi Village.
A Varanasi court Friday gave its nod to a “scientific survey” by the Archaeological Survey of India of the Gyanvapi mosque premises except the area that was sealed earlier. The court had earlier directed the district administration to seal the spot in the mosque complex where a “Shivling” was claimed to have been found during a court-mandated videography survey. The court of District Judge AK Vishwesha gave its judgment to a petition that was filed in May this year by five women, who in another plea, had earlier sought permission to pray at the “Shringar Gauri Sthal” inside the shrine complex.
Meanwhile, amid slogans and ruckus by the Opposition parties demanding a discussion on the Manipur incident, the day two of the Monsoon Session of Parliament proceedings saw the Lok Sabha being adjourned barely a few minutes following a brief statement by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue. Calling the situation in Manipur “very sensitive,” Singh said, “The Prime Minister also said that the strictest action should be taken…And we (too) want a discussion on the matter in the house.” He went on to say that it is the Opposition which is not taking the matter seriously and not allowing a discussion. The disruptions led to the House being adjourned again till Monday morning.
Moreover, the Supreme Court today issued notice to the Gujarat government on a plea by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi challenging the Gujarat High Court order refusing to stay his conviction in a criminal defamation case. Though Senior Advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Rahul Gandhi, sought an “interim suspension” of conviction, the court declined to go into it. The bench issued notice and fixed August 4 as the next hearing date. In March, a Surat court convicted and sentenced Gandhi to two years in prison, finding him guilty of criminal defamation after a BJP MLA’s complaint against Gandhi’s remarks about “thieves with the Modi surname” in Karnataka. Following this, Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha.
The death toll in the Raigad landslide in Maharashtra has risen to 20 with the recovery of four more bodies from the debris in Irshalwadi village. National Disaster Response Force teams resumed their search and rescue operation at the landslide site, located in a hilly terrain, early today amid rainfall in the area after suspending the exercise overnight. Even as rescue operations continue today, survivors who saw the magnitude of destruction said that they had scant hopes of finding any family members alive. Two days ago, the residents of Irshalwadi woke up to an explosion-like bang. Before they realised it was a landslide, houses started collapsing and many got buried under the debris.
In other news, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation approved the flight resumption plan of Go First with certain conditions, reported news agency PTI. In a notification, the DGCA said that it has accepted the proposed resumption plan dated June 28, upon examination, subject to the outcome of writ petitions pending before the Delhi High Court and National Company Law Tribunal. The DGCA said the budget carrier’s resumption plan for operating 15 aircraft and 114 daily flights has been reviewed and accepted. Go First stopped flying on May 3 and is currently undergoing an insolvency resolution process.
In international news today, Russia pounded Ukrainian food export facilities for a fourth day in a row and practised seizing ships in the Black Sea in an escalation of what Western leaders call is an attempt to wriggle out of sanctions by threatening a global food crisis. The direct attacks on Ukraine’s grain, a key part of the global food chain, followed a vow by Kyiv to defy Russia’s naval blockade on its grain export ports following Moscow’s withdrawal this week from a UN-brokered safe sea corridor agreement. Two people had been injured, he said. Moscow has described the attacks as revenge for a Ukrainian strike on a Russian-built bridge to Crimea – the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Britain’s governing Conservative Party avoided a drubbing today in a trio of special elections, managing to hold onto former premier Boris Johnson’s seat in suburban London. Though the main opposition Labour Party and the smaller centrist Liberal Democrats overturned massive Conservative majorities to win a seat apiece, the Conservatives found some crumbs of comfort in their narrow success in Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London. The results provide evidence that the Conservatives are losing ground among several types of voters amid the a cost-of-living crisis and the array of lockdown breaches that took place by Johnson and his team in Downing Street. There is speculation that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could look to shake up his government with a Cabinet shuffle as early as Friday.